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Solution found for Evros border policing after EU funding programmes expired on Tuesday

A solution has been found that will allow border police to continue the 'Aspis' operation for guarding Greece's northeastern borders and controlling migration flows in Evros after the expiration on Tuesday of special EU funding programmes, the civil protection ministry said.

Ministry sources also noted that an enhanced strategic plan for the Aegean, with greater FRONTEX participation in terms of personnel and resources, will go into operation around the second week of July. More details concerning the plan, in which funding for Greece has been tripled to 18 billion euros, are to be announced over the coming days.

According to the announcement, the problems were resolved by continuing the operation with locally based police officers, based on a decision taken by the leadership of the Hellenic Police and approved by Alternate Minister for Civil Protection Yiannis Panoussis.

The reorganisation was necessary because a large border police presence in the area had previously been detached from other areas of Greece and thus received special bonuses to cover the costs of living away from home, which were covered by the EU programmes that expired on Tuesday.

The issue was resolved by use of 547 local police officers, who volunteered to participate in the border force without any additional pay and a reorganisation of the forces and operational resources in the Eastern Macedonia-Thrace region.

Another major problem concerned financing for the reception and detention facilities for migrants, especially for food. This was resolved through an internal loan of six million euros approved by the government that is expected to suffice until December, at which time there may be new financing from EU programmes.

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